World Health Day observed

ISLAMABAD: Like other parts of the globe, the World Health Day was also observed in Pakistan on Sunday to remind that everyone should be able to access the health care they need, when and where they need it.

Various advocacy events were held around the world and in various cities of Pakistan to fuel the momentum of the ‘Health for All movement’ and to highlight World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal of achieving a fairer, healthier world – in which no one is left behind.

The focus was on equity and solidarity – on raising the bar for health for everyone, everywhere by addressing gaps in services, and leaving no one behind. The tagline for World Health Day is ‘Health for all – everyone, everywhere’.

According to WHO, universal health coverage means that all people have access to the quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship.

“We believe this is possible and it starts with strong primary health care as it is a whole-of-society approach to health and well-being centred on the needs and preferences of individuals, families and communities.”

It added to make health for all a reality, governments need to invest in quality, accessible primary health care. It added health workers need to care and advocate for patients and educate them on how to get and stay healthy while individuals and communities need to be empowered to take care of their own health.

It said that the goals to observe the day are to improve understanding of universal health coverage and the importance of primary health care as its foundation, to spur action from individuals, policy-makers and health-care workers and to make universal health care a reality for everyone.

It said that at least half of the people in the world do not receive the health services they need and about 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty each year because of out-of-pocket spending on health. It added over 800 million people which is almost 12% of the world’s population spent at least 10% of their household budgets to pay for health care.

It said that all UN Member States have agreed to try to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. It said that health is a human right and everyone should have the information and services they need to take care of their own health and the health of their families.

WHO said that primary health care is a cost effective and equitable way of delivering health services and helping countries make progress towards universal health coverage. It added health workers have a crucial role to play educating patients on how to take care of their health, coordinating care and advocating for their patients’ needs to health facility managers and policy-makers.